An efficient and effectively working team is behind every business success in the technology industry. This principle applies to start-ups as well as international IT giants. A team exists to enable growth and achieve goals which would be unrealistic for one person to achieve. An effective and efficient team starts with hiring the right people. People who value working towards a common goal, respect the hierarchical organisational structure and understand the importance of teamwork in an organisation.
IT project team – where to start?
The creation of an IT team should be preceded by giving it the right objectives and equipping people with the tools to achieve those objectives. Teams function to make specific projects a reality, and their members should be familiar with the goals of teamwork in the organisation.
Recruitment of team members is a key condition for its performance
The recruitment stage, whether the process involves internal or external recruitment, is a key part of creating a high-performing IT project team. With that said, it is important to remember that building an IT team without experience in a team environment is much more difficult than building a team of people who have already worked in such an environment. Recruiters should establish the candidates’ previous experience in this service industry. The level of each candidate’s analytical skills, motivation, salary expectations and success in the industry should be determined in this case.
Hosting websites dedicated to programming projects, where candidates store their existing projects, can be useful in this process. An example of this is GitHub. The employer may ask the candidate to share sample work to assess the potential of such a person in a newly built IT team.
Competences of IT project team members
Our IT team should contain complementary sets of qualities, competences and, above all, practical skills, so that the whole group of people can perform tasks that meet the ambitious goals of teamwork.
In the classic division of team members’ competencies created in management theory, conceptual, social (interpersonal) and technical (specialist) competencies are distinguished. However, the functioning of project teams in the technology industry makes it necessary to emphasise the special role of technical competence. Among them, it is worth mentioning expert knowledge in the field of new technologies, programming and IT, experience in the profession, as well as a portfolio of already completed projects. The basic way to check the technical competence of a candidate for an IT team is through a technical interview conducted by the leader of the future team or a person appointed by the management (for example, Senior Developer).
However, privileging technical competences does not mean marginalising conceptual and social (interpersonal) competences. Conceptual competences concern the implementation of ideas in team practice, creative thinking, and the analysis and synthesis of different ideas or solutions.
Social competences refer, for example, to communication skills, maintaining work motivation, assertiveness, responsibility for assigned tasks, empathy and willingness to cooperate with other team members.
The IT team leader and his key role in stimulating team productivity and efficiency
Every efficient IT team must have a manager. This is a person who acts as a leader, carrying out all the classic functions within IT team management. The IT team leader manages people, but also directs organisational processes.
He or she should be a charismatic person, effectively enforcing instructions, understanding the needs and abilities of his or her colleagues and being proactive in making decisions and implementing them. A common position in this case is that of IT Project Manager. The responsibilities of such a person are wide-ranging. The PM is responsible for project and data management, planning and executing the schedule including the project budget and ensuring effective team communication. The role requires a technical education, usually at least three years’ experience in an IT environment in a similar position, experience in contact with IT specialists, fluent knowledge of the English language, as well as a high degree of self-discipline and self-motivation.
IT team management – basic processes
Managing an IT team is the role of the manager of such a team. This should be assessed in process terms. This means that managing the team with a manager involves such basic processes as:
- team building and participation in personnel choices;
- motivating team members to work;
- organising workplaces and assigning tasks;
- solving potential problems, including conflicts within the team;
- project risk management;
- managing project documentation;
- caring for positive relations with the company’s clients;
- creating an atmosphere in the team;
- controlling the behaviour of team members;
- evaluating the work of team members.
The listed processes within IT team management are only examples. This means that the manager has a lot of freedom in choosing how to create an efficient IT team. An IT project team cannot exist without a manager who is responsible for the implementation of the processes.